What is the impact of the World Cup on the continuation of the season in the English Premier League?

Will Xavi Simmons fill the void left by Cody Gakpo?  Photo by Guus Dubbelman / de Volkskrant

Will Xavi Simmons fill the void left by Cody Gakpo?Photo by Guus Dubbelman / de Volkskrant

Who will fill the void left by Jakob in Eindhoven?

Cody Gakpo put in a unique performance at the World Cup. The striker scored a goal in all group matches. No Dutch has ever achieved this before. Then he also scored with his header, left and right, a testament to his versatility.

With his solid performances, the 23-year-old forced a move from PSV to Liverpool and put PSV into a split. The club was reportedly in dire need of €50m to be able to write black numbers for this financial year. But coach Ruud van Nistelrooy also said that selling the best player reduced the chance of winning the national title.

With nine goals, Gakpo is not only the top scorer in the Premier League. He also made the most assists (12). It is not yet certain if PSV will get a replacement this winter period, because the club suffers from a financial shortfall that must be eliminated. So eyes will be more focused on Xavi Simons, another PSV star.

The 19-year-old midfielder, who came from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, has been headlining the first half of the season with his flawless play. As a reward, he was allowed to go to the World Cup, where he became the youngest Orange player ever in the knockout stage of a World Cup as a substitute in the Final Eight against the United States.

Muhammad Kudus in a match against PSV.  The question is whether he will play with another top player in the Eredivisie.  Photo by Guus Dubbelman / de Volkskrant

Muhammad Kudus in a match against PSV. The question is whether he will play with another top player in the Eredivisie.Photo by Guus Dubbelman / de Volkskrant

Is World Cup tastemaker Kudos heading for Ajax’s departure?

On the international front, there was no shortage of excellence to match Mohamed Kodos at the World Cup. His Ghanaian teammates also thought he had outgrown Ajax. It was only a matter of time before he moved on to a bigger club.

Of the eleven Ajax players who have been active in the World Cup, only Kudos has really outdone himself. With two goals, an assist and great play, the 22-year-old midfielder turned out to be the Ghanaian tastemaker, even though his country failed in the group stage.

But at the start of the Eredivisie, he didn’t seem sure of a place at the base at Ajax. Coach Alfred Schroeder has often used him as a striker in the first half of the season, while Kudos himself prefers to play as an attacking midfielder. This was where his World Cup dribbles often began.

The question is whether he can continue his fine World Cup form by looking for Ajax or, as he did last summer, aiming to leave. Then Ajax did not want to cooperate. But clubs from the English and German leagues, among others, haven’t lost sight of him, in part because of his strong performances in Qatar.

Goalkeeper Andres Noubert slides the ball away from the onrushing American Wright.  Photo by Guus Dubbelman / de Volkskrant

Goalkeeper Andres Noubert slides the ball away from the onrushing American Wright.Photo by Guus Dubbelman / de Volkskrant

And what about Anders Neubert and Heerenveen? Will the goalkeeper capitalize on his newfound fame with a transfer?

In Andres Nobert’s last official match, he faced Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, in the World Cup quarter-finals with the Netherlands. On Saturday, RKC walkers Michele Kramer and Hans Mulder are due to start the second half of the season with Heerenveen.

Norbert slowly wakes up from his dream, having been promptly promoted to number one goalkeeper in the Netherlands by national coach Louis van Gaal in Qatar. Without having played a serious international match, let alone one to his name. He did not betray Van Gaal’s trust.

Upon his return to Heerenveen, just over a week ago, the club decided to hold a press conference, with the number of orders that were in place for the 2.03m tall goalkeeper who was quickly emerging as a cult hero because of his poise. Yes, as a Frisian, he says he’s still at his dream club, but he also knows this could be “the moment”.

If the 28-year-old Neubert wants to make another sweet transfer, the goalkeeper who spent years on the bench at clubs like NAC, FC Dordrecht and Go Ahead Eagles now looks set to take advantage. Moreover, Heerenveen could earn a lot of money from a goalkeeper that the club acquired for free six months ago.

Can Iran international Alireza Jahanbakhsh ignore the turmoil in his homeland on his return to Feyenoord?

Although Feyenoord’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh had already been eliminated in the group stage, Iran was one of the most talked about teams in the World Cup. The players refused to sing the national anthem before the first match against England, as a protest against the system in their country.

Jahanbakhsh said that the focus of the Iranian national team in Qatar was on football, but in reality it turned out to be more difficult than expected. The players have entered a sort of minefield between the supporters, who often support the opposition, and the hardline Islamist regime, which has been protesting for months to impose greater freedoms on women.

According to the American network CNN, the regime of President Ebrahim Raisi would have threatened imprisonment or torture against the footballers’ relatives if they did not “act”.

The tears that flowed from the Iranian players after the defeat by the United States were much more than just being eliminated in the World Cup. As an Iranian player, Jahanbakhsh faced pressure due to the situation in his native country, with captain Feyenoord again under sporting pressure.

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